The 90th annual Miss America Pageant airs tonight on ABC, with ABC-tastic hosts Chris Harrison of The Bachelor and Brooke Burke of Dancing with the Stars (pictured here). To that I say: Really? I honestly had no idea that the show was even airing until yesterday. Maybe I haven’t been watching enough ABC or frequenting websites that teen girls regularly go to or am not reading the right magazines, but I haven’t seen a scrap of promotion for this year’s pageant. Where are the billboards? The magazine advertisements? The hosts and last year’s winner Miss Virginia parading through the morning-show circuit? The lack of all that—and the fact that the show has been decline for well over a decade—doesn’t bode well for its ratings, which have been in a tailspin for years. (I chronicled the Miss America woes one year ago in a story not-so-subtly titled Who Killed Miss America?) In lots of ways, it’s surprising that the pageant is even on one of the Big Four broadcast networks this year, since it had been on cable—first CMT, then TLC—for the past several years before even TLC gave it the boot after last year’s pageant drew only 4.5 million viewers. ABC last aired the pageant in 2004, which drew 9.8 million viewers—a far cry from the 33 million who tuned in in 1998. The point is: Very few people are watching this show today, but it’s not helped by the fact that it doesn’t seem to be very visible. And that it’s buried on a Saturday night. And is sort of antiquated.
All of this brings me to my question at hand. Like I said, I had no idea the pageant was even on ABC until yesterday. Were you aware? Are you planning to watch? And most importantly: Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below please! Would love to hear your take.
UPDATE: Miss America 2011 winner is…
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